Sunday, April 26, 2009

Linked In

If you read the post from February 3, you'll know that Emma Gilding, anthropologist and business innovator, has begun a new blog - Thru Their Eyes.

Emma and I have very similar attitudes about the way people learn -- particularly about learning in business. She's made me a guest blogger.

I republish the post here to save you time from clicking around.

Corporate Training: is it Good for Innovation?

Even before the global economy found itself in peril, professional development seemed the solution for all organizational ills. If you find a hole in your process, fill it by prescribing a set of skills within a specific context or task.

Too often, training is the result of short-term thinking. An organization needs results quickly, so trainers limit a class to a narrow set of parameters. Then a particular problem can get solved immediately.

Don’t waste time making connections between contexts or tasks – why bother addressing problems that might arise later?

This is not helped by the fact that trainers tend to see their own goal exclusively to give clients exactly what he asks for rather than expanding offerings to include what they need.

Give Them the Fishing Rod (Not the Fish)

Training offers answers. But does it explore the questions in enough depth to do anything but maintain the status quo? Wouldn't it be better to improve the way business is done rather than just treading water?

Learning, on the other hand, focuses on process. It offers the facility to make connections among different contexts, resources, and so on. In fact, it's what makes a skill transferable. But more important it's learning, not training, that makes innovation possible.

On the other hand, the results of training are much easier and faster to control and quantify. They demand no messy emotional investment (read: engagement) that is required for inspiration and innovation.

So with training, you know what you get. But is what you want?

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